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How to Play Big Blind : Small Blinds

The big and small blinds (or 'the blinds') are the automatic bets that have to be made in every single hand of a poker game. The higher the stakes that you are playing, the higher the blinds will be. As we already know, acting last gives you positional advantage as you get to see what the rest of the table does before you act. On the initial deal, the player to the left of the dealer button receives the first card and assuming the deal has been dealt correctly, will also be the last to receive his last remaining hole card. Pre flop, the player to the left of the big blind is first to act. Once the flop is dealt, it's the player on the small blind (left of the dealer button) that is first to act, and acts first on all remaining streets. What this means is that the players on the blinds are disadvantaged as they have to act before all other players. Remember, being able to see what all players do before you is an advantage as you will get an idea of how strong players are, depending on whether they fold, call or raise.

The button will always indicate who is on the BB and SB. The player immediately left of the dealer button will be on the SB and the player 2 places left of the dealer button will be on the BB. After each hand of play, the dealer button will move round the table clockwise thus giving no player an advantage. When the dealer button makes its way round the table, all players will have posted the blinds.

With the SB usually being half the value of the BB, you should see more flops as you already have chips in the pot. If there are no raises in a pot and the BB is $10, the SB will have to pay $5 to see the flop. The BB in this scenario will get to see a 'free' flop. A trap that new players (and some old) fall into is trying to defend their blinds aggressively. For new players, it's advisable to avoid this as you can be put in some very difficult spots, especially if you hit a piece ofthe flop. For thos efamiliar with the math, it is quite often mathematically correct to call raise from late position, especially if there are antes in play also.

As the blinds are automatic bets that you have no control over having to pay, you should base the decision to put more chips in the pot only if the pot size and your cards warrant committing more chips. Granted you have invested some money already, but that doesn't necessarily mean you must call. You don't have to defend at all costs and should probably only put more chips in the pot if the situation is profitable or you are getting the right price on doing so (the right odds).

In general, if you are on the SB and there has not been a raise, you should play the pot as you have already put half the amount that you need to see a flop. If there has been a couple of players limp into the pot, you should play suited connectors to suited aces, pocket pairs and suited cards. You can afford to loosen up a little, as it is not costing you much to see a flop.

Similarly in the BB you should play with the same cards and even with 1 raise. For example in a $20/40 limit Holdem game where there has been only one raise in the pot, other players will have to call $40 whereas you have $20 in the pot already so only have to bet another $20. Of course it depends on the strength of your hand. If you have 2-3 off suit, even on the BB, you should throw your hand in as even hitting a pair you will still probably lose (without hitting a set or a straight).

When you play games, especially tournament poker, players in late position will try to steal your blinds. This is part of the game. At times it will really piss you off but you have to maintain your game and base the decision to call raise or fold on your cards and the value in the pot and not whether you are on either of the blinds.

 

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